“Insurance is a very logical industry. It is risk based, analytical, and built on detailed processes and procedures. But it’s important for that analytical mindset to be complemented with an understanding of the customer’s emotional journey,” said Feast.
Cogito’s AI software analyses phone conversations and provides real-time coaching and guidance for call center agents. Its goal is to boost empathy and build stronger connections during these customer interactions. The tech firm counts personal lines insurers such as Metlife among its clients.
How satisfied are customers with their insurers?
Insurers are under pressure to improve the customer experience. Tech giants like Amazon, Apple and Google have leveraged data analytics and cutting-edge tools to set an incredibly high bar for customer experience.
The latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) put customer satisfaction for property and casualty insurance this year at 78 out of 100, unchanged from 2021. It found that customers were only 77% satisfied with the speed of claim processing and completion. Call center satisfaction was at 80%, compared to 88% satisfaction with insurer’s mobile apps and 82% satisfaction with websites. The survey polled 12,841 people.
A separate study by JD Power shows overall customer satisfaction with insurers’ digital claims process has dropped for a second consecutive year. Clunky interfaces, infrequent updates and frustrating workflows force many customers to seek an agent over the phone, the survey found.
It’s clear there’s still room for industry to grow in terms of pleasing customers. Multiple channels of communication – digital, in-person, or phone – that companies must juggle also makes the mission more complicated.
For Feast, AI technology is a powerful enabler for improving insurance customer service. AI can streamline the claims and underwriting processes, delivering faster results for customers. But the emotional journey should remain central to an organization’s strategy to increasing customer retention and loyalty.
“You can deploy technologies [to improve customer experience]. But the most important thing is to remember that insurance is human industry, and that the emotional connection with customers is one of the most powerful levers for long-term business,” Feast said.
How can the insurance industry support the customer’s emotional journey?
Nurturing an emotional connection with customers is key for insurance companies to create long-lasting relationships and build a loyal base. One concrete way to do that is to empathize with customers when they seek support.
The phone is one of the most direct channels for insurers to communicate with customers, which means showing empathy and emotional intelligence in these conversations is critical. But talking to support or claims agents on the phone is not most people’s top choice of things to do.
A survey conducted by OnePoll this year comically illustrates the dread that people associate with the customer service process. It asked 2,000 Americans what they would rather do than call customer support. Thirty percent of respondents said they would rather do their taxes, 24% would rather shave their head, and 22% would rather spend a night in jail.
“Customers need to work up to making phone calls with insurance companies. It’s not something they do routinely,” Feast said. “For them, each interaction is a big deal, and often can be very emotional. So, a very poor experience can have lasting negative effects. But a positive experience and a strong emotional connection can drive customer retention as well as create opportunities to cross-sell and upsell when the initial service experience was positive.”
Supporting the customers’ emotional journey presents both a challenge and opportunity for the insurance industry. But the good news is AI and other technologies are available to augment the human side of the process.
“We have technologies today that can help with just about any type of customer interaction medium,” Feast said. “There’s a need to deploy technologies that are going to ensure a consistent, positive experience for customers during these complex interactions.”